|In The Zone
By: Collin Fat, Zone 7 Representative
Sacramento Valley Region
I am sure all of you have been inundated with news concerning the coronavirus pandemic and perhaps what PCA is advising its members and regional clubs. On Thursday, March 12th, PCA issued a memo to all region presidents recommending several steps they can take to prevent the spread of the virus as well as to protect the health and safety of our members. The safety of our members is the club’s number one priority.
Currently, large scale national events such as Treffen Broadmoor and Parade are still scheduled. Treffen has extended the cancellation deadline for up to 24 hours before the event giving a registered participant a refund. Parade has extended the cancellation deadline to June 15, 6 days before the event. Members who are currently registered for these events will likely be contacted directly by the event organizer notifying them of cancellations and updated refund policies. On the other hand, many regional events have been cancelled throughout Zone 7 including the Zone Concours Judging School, Concours event #1 hosted by Diablo Region and others. The club race program and Golden Gate Region HPDE program is proceeding as planned as these events have a higher threshold for community transmission. However, this could change depending on the circumstances. The pandemic is fast moving and evolving and you can expect region club events such as dinners, tech sessions and other large group gatherings with more than 250 participants to alter their schedules or cancel events.
PCA advises that each region adhere to recommendations issued by the CDC and WHO. A summary of those recommendations are as follows:
PCA National mitigation activities:
We have appointed Cindy Jacisin, PCA Vice President, to be our point person for COVID-19 responses. Cindy has a similar role in her professional life with a major corporation and is well equipped to guide resolution of related concerns.
National does not foresee sending a blanket email to all members at this time. Because the situation varies greatly by local areas, any communication on PCA mitigation efforts is best served from a regional perspective.
PCA is addressing each of our large, national events such as Porscheplatz, Club Racing events, Treffen and Parade. Our staff is being informed on how to respond with improved personal hygiene awareness and supplies. The ongoing plans for each event are being handled on a case by case basis with consideration for the amount of social interaction expected, travel concerns and local area disease control guidance.
The upcoming Treffen event in Colorado remains on the calendar but we have revised the registrant cancellation policy so that any registrant can cancel at any time with a full refund. This has the primary effect of allowing each registrant to decide for themselves whether to attend while simultaneously conveying that any registrant who is ill will have no financial loss pressure for attending.
Each event for which we must adjust registration or occurrence has a financial impact which the PCA Executive Council carefully evaluates to ensure we can meet our financial obligations in all cases up to and including cancellation of the event.
Be assured that our PCA insurance covers national and regional leadership from claims of negligence with respect to our operations and the coronavirus.
Member health and safety is our number one concern and we will do our best to help mitigate the spread of the virus at our events.
Region operational recommendations:
Stress with your leadership teams that member health and safety is our number one concern that guides all decisions and plans.
Follow closely the guidance from national and local area public health and government organizations. Guidance from these organizations supersedes all other guidance.
For events on your calendar:
Include backup plans for your core volunteer staff in case someone calls in sick.
Encourage staff and members to not show up to events if they are ill.
Add personal hygiene supplies to your event kits.
Include clear communications before and during the event for exercising personal hygiene and respecting personal space.
Be liberal with your cancellation policies.
If you are contemplating cancellation of an event, be diligent in understanding the financial consequences. If local expertise is not available, our national COVID-19 POC, Cindy Jacisin, can assist in evaluation of contract cancellation penalties and options.
Recommendations on member communications:
Member health and safety is our number one concern.
Stay informed and follow your own personal guidance with respect to event participation.
When contemplating participation in an upcoming event, please consider the health of other participants. If you are ill, have traveled recently to a highly infected area, or have been in close contact with someone known to have the virus or the flu, then please stay home.
Exercise elevated personal hygiene and personal space etiquette as is recommended thru all public health information organizations
As stated above, national is leaving the decision to cancel or postpone events up to each region and is encouraging all regions to look after the number one mission of the club, our member’s health and safety.
Autocross Sites Disappearing:
Airport locations, fairground and amusement park parking lots have historically provided large enough areas for the sport of autocross for many, many years. With the downsizing of our military 30 years ago former military bases such as Alameda Naval Air Station have been repurposed for other uses ranging from developing new commercial businesses to housing. There is generally nothing quite like a large airport runway or taxiway for the sport of autocrossing. However, with property prices in California sky rocketing, many of these sites have and are going to be developed. If you look at the Alameda Point site that Golden Gate region has used for years, it is hard not to imagine the area being turned into housing or perhaps another Veterans Hospital facility. The land is just too valuable to be used for craft fairs or the occasional autocross.
Other airport sites have fallen prey to the general mission of most airports and that has been to serve the general aviation community. Mather Airport in Sacramento was also a former military air base that was given to the County of Sacramento sometime after it was abandoned as a military air base. Though it serves as a major air transportation hub for the likes of FedEx and UPS in the Sacramento area, other parts of the base have been converted to commercial use as well. Sacramento Valley Region lost use of this site about 6 years ago. It is highly unlikely that motorsport activities will ever be allowed again on this pristine site in the heart of Sacramento.
Redwood Region lost use of its airport site at Santa Rosa Airport two years ago and after several reprieves granted to Redwood Region to continue use of the facility located just west of the main runway it is no longer available. I believe it is still being used by the local Sherriff and law enforcement agencies for training.
Recently, the Marina Airport made a decision to development the 5 plus acre site where Loma Prieta Region has been hosting its events for the past 15 years. Loma Prieta autocross chair, Anne Roth, is busy searching for alternate sites in the Monterey Bay area so if you have a suggestion please contact her. It appears that outside of two dates for the Zone autocross series being considered at Crow’s Landing, LPR’s season is looking quite bleak. The situation with use of the Marina Airport site has been tentative for several years ago. As recently as 2018, the airport was considering banning all motorsport activities at the airport and it took a monumental lobbying effort to convince the Marina City Council to override the recommendation of its airport manager. The airport runs its operations under the rules of the FAA, but is managed by the city of Marina. In 2000, the airport updated its long term plan for the airport which included not only a vision for its aviation services but also a significant element of economic development. It is this economic development plan which has resulted in the development of the 5 acre parcel of concrete being used for autocross.
The Alameda autocross site at the former Alameda Naval Air Station is currently used exclusively by Golden Gate Region for its highly successful autocross series. With the growing popularity of the sport in the Bay Area, events there attract more than 100 drivers. The site utilizes one of the several runways on the former Naval Air Station that measures several thousand feet in length and some 500 plus feet in width. Like the Marina Airport, there are also plans to develop the site for expansion of a veterans hospital, housing, public open space, and commercial use. Past Golden Gate Region autocross chair, Ed Hunter, has been on the forefront of the battle to keep use of Alameda Point, but the forces of redevelopment of this jewel in the East Bay will eventually prevail and Ed has regretfully acknowledged this force. With autocross sites like Candlestick Park and Great America succumbing to development, it is only time when we will lose Alameda.
In San Diego, Zone 8, San Diego Region will likely lose the use of their long-term autocross site at Qualcomm Stadium as local community college district has purchased the former home of the San Diego Chargers with plans to eventually develop the site into another satellite campus. Finding a site to replace this wonderfull facility where Parade was held in 2007 is underway.
Long Term Strategic Plan for Autocross Sites:
Several region autocross chairs have been harping on securing a site for future use by all Porsche Clubs in Zone 7 and have cited how SCCA took the approach to raise money for several decades to build Thunderhill Raceway. Although it is a worthy goal, the probability of raising millions of dollars to secure a site where the club could afford to purchase the land and develop the parcel would be very difficult to attain. Hypothetically, if all regions were to charge an autocross site fee of say $10 per driver and if LPR and Redwood Regions find a new home we could assume that we would have around 1,750 drivers per season on average. At $10 per driver that would amount to $17,500 per year. To raise a million dollars at this rate would take 57 years! Perhaps we have a member in Zone 7 who has been very successful in his business or career who would be willing to donate the purchase of a site. To that person we would be forever grateful. I don’t think there is really a clear path to finding a future site but I think it is a worthwhile cause to start thinking of where we are going to be with our autocross programs.
Events of Interest:
Loma Prieta Region 50th Anniversary Gala; March 28; register at MotorsportReg with keyword search for ‘LPR’ Rescheduled to August 29.
West Coast Race Series Event #1, Buttonwillow Raceway, March 29, Cancelled
Zone 7 AX #1, April 5, Thunderhill, Willows, Cancelled
Zone 7 Rally School, April 19, Porsche Fremont, Cancelled
West Coast Series Event #2, April 25-26, Thunderhill, Willows
West Coat Race Series Event #3, April 25-26, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Cancelled
Zone 7 AX #2, April 25, Marina, Cancelled (lost use of site)
Zone 7 AX #3, April 26, Marina, Cancelled (lost use of site)
Zone 7 Concours #1, April 26, Porsche Livermore, Cancelled
PCA Spring Treffen at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs; April 29-May 2; SOLD OUT – wait list in effect. The cancellation policy has been updated due to the coronavirus.
CRAB 38 hosted by Sacramento Valley Region; May 29-31; svr-crab38.eventbrite.com
Zone 7 Tour by Shasta Region; June 11-15; SOLD OUT – wait list in effect
Porsche Parade at the La Quinta Resort in La Quinta; June 21-27; Phase I Registration is OPEN; porscheparade.org
Porsche Parade Phase II Registration (events and banquets) will open April 28 (a delay of one month from the previously published date). The cancellation policy has been updated due to the coronavirus.
Mammoth Tour by Sierra Nevada Region; July 24-26; snv.pca.org/events/mammoth-high-altitude-porsche-tour-2
Werks Reunion in Monterey; August 14, featuring the Porsche 914; werksreunion.com Registration will open mid-May.
PCA Fall Treffen at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia; September 16-19; treffen.pca.org. Registration will open June 17.
Note that past Treffens have sold out in as little as one hour due to their growing popularity.